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Call For Proposals:
Innovation[X] 2021-2022

Innovation Partners called for proposals for the next round of our Innovation[X] Program, which provides grants that allow multidisciplinary teams of faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to work together to address complex real-world challenges. Faculty may apply for grants of up to $20,000 to facilitate year-long projects. The number of grants to be awarded will depend on funding and application levels. Funding begins September 1, 2021. The deadline for 2021-2022 proposals was February 22, 2021.

Additionally, we have partnered with the Mays Innovation Research Center to fund a set of proposals to study the process of innovation itself. Successful proposals for this subset will pursue topics such as, barriers to or preconditions for innovation, the effects of law and policy on innovation, the behavior or psychological requirements for innovation, innovation and health, the social impacts of innovation, international comparisons of innovation, or novel measurements of innovation.

For questions or to discuss potential project ideas and teams, please contact Assistant Director Emily Finbow at

Program Overview

“Being chosen for the inaugural round of Innovation[X] funding enabled us to take the idea of First Year Eats–that addressing food insecurity would improve student success–and make it a reality.  Our pilot this past year involved enthusiastic graduate and undergraduate student teams in gardening, cooking, ingredient stocking, and assessment, and resulted in data showing that First Year Eats made it possible for low-income freshmen to close the first semester grade gap with their peers.  This data and the framework we piloted are now part of proposals to improve and expand the program.”

- Dr. Sumana Datta
Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies
Executive Director for LAUNCH

Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty Eligibility
  • All teams must have two leaders, one of whom must be an active faculty member. Graduate students, postdocs, or staff may serve as co-leaders alongside a faculty member.
  • Team leaders should represent at least two distinct disciplinary perspectives; preferably from two different departments.
  • Any faculty member may submit a proposal, but only one proposal is required per project.
Project Eligibility Criteria
  • Projects should bridge disciplines and areas of expertise.
  • Projects should be vertically integrated among levels of expertise and learning.
  • Projects should address societal challenges.
Proposal Elements
  1. Project information (Project name, Primary contact person, etc.)
  2. Estimated budget
  3. Description (Research question or Fundamental Problem, context, and proposed goals for project)
  4. Team leadership and proposed composition of student team (proposed number of undergrads, graduate students, and postdocs on your student team)
  5. External partners and/or locations
  6. Project details (potential travel, IRB needs, timeline, etc.)
  7. Collaboration plan (how team will function, milestones, format of team check-ins, frequency of team meetings, division of labor, etc.)
Project Selection Criteria

Projects will be selected by a faculty committee drawn from across the university. Proposals will be assessed on the following criteria.

  1. Interdisciplinarity: Does the project engage students and faculty across disciplines?
  2. Societal Relevance: Does the project engage in the solution to a real-world problem?
  3. Vertical Integration: Does the project foster collaboration across educational levels?
  4. Teamwork: Does the project foster team-based work?
  5. Deliverables: Does the proposal articulate clear and achievable goals within the scope of the project?
Budget Guidelines

Budgets may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Graduate student support
  • Domestic and international travel support
  • Special research materials
  • Student travel
  • Budgets may not include salary support for faculty or staff.

*The maximum amount that can be requested from Innovation[X] $20,000.

If the proposal will be part of a larger funded project, please describe other funds to be used, so that the committee better understands the scope of the project.

Project Timing: 2021-2022
  • Initial Proposals will be accepted through 11:59 pm on February 22, 2021.
  • Faculty Team Leaders will be notified by early May 2021.
  • Student applications will be accepted through July 2021.
  • Student selection will occur late Summer 2021.
  • Projects must begin no later than Fall 2021.

Innovation[X] Program

The Innovation[X] Program provides grants that allow multidisciplinary teams of faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to work together to address complex real-world challenges. Faculty may apply for grants of up to $20,000 to facilitate year-long projects. The number of grants to be awarded depends on funding and application levels.

The Innovation[X] Program is an opportunity to engage a broad array of students in a transformative learning project and explore translating research into actions that will have an impact on the community, nation, and the world. Teams must consist of an interdisciplinary set of faculty members and a multidisciplinary team of 10-20 students, both undergraduate and graduate, from across the university. Proposals should demonstrate a team-based approach to a complex problem and include meaningful deliverables. These may include, but are not limited to, published reports, curated exhibits, workable data sets to motivate further research, marketable goods or services, or impactful solutions to community challenges. Projects may engage external partners such as private companies, government agencies, NGOs, school districts, etc.

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